For Immediate Release
April 27, 2011
State committee recommends new kindergarten readiness assessment
Report calls for assessing multiple abilities over time
SPRINGFIELD — A committee of educational leaders today submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education recommendations calling for the development of a comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessment process. The Board will consider the recommendations to better align early childhood programs with kindergarten through 12th grade standards and education.
“We are grateful for the Kindergarten Readiness Stakeholder Committee’s hard work and thoughtful recommendations,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Rather than relying on a one-time snapshot, we look forward to developing an assessment system that uses multiple measures. This type of data will support parents and educators as children enter kindergarten and create a strong foundation for growth.”
The ISBE’s stakeholder committee, comprised of school administrators, teachers, university faculty, researchers and education advocates, has worked for the past year investigating other state models, hearing from national experts, and engaging in much research and discussion.
While the committee’s scope did not include selecting a specific assessment instrument, the group recommended the creation of an evaluation process, to be called the “Kindergarten Individual Development Survey” (KIDS) with the following goals and priorities:
- Promote the success of every child by providing key adults — family members and teachers alike — with a clear picture of a child’s developing strengths across five main domains; cognitive, physical, developmental, social and emotional.
- Guide professional development for teachers from early childhood through third grade.
- Support alignment of early childhood and elementary school systems.
- Inform policy and resource decisions regarding class size, instructional time and curricula.
“This assessment process offers a comprehensive and developmentally appropriate approach that will help every child,” said Samuel J. Meisels, President of Erikson Institute, and co-chair of the Kindergarten Readiness Stakeholder’s Committee. “It will also help future generations of children. Such an assessment could yield data for guiding instructional decisions, policy making, and resource allocation.”
Education advocates praised the committee’s collaboration and work which was funded by the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
“KIDS represents a different kind of assessment – one that is designed to capture early learners’ growth and development over time in appropriate ways,” said Diana Rauner, President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
ISBE plans to consider the committee’s recommendations as documented in a report submitted to the agency and the state’s P-20 Council, a group also focused on aligning early childhood through college standards and education. The report notes that other states, including Maryland and Colorado, have collected similar early childhood data to help identify service gaps for young children, best address the development of early learners and better gauge the effectiveness of early childhood programs.
“In a state that has made a significant investment in early childhood education for many years, it makes sense for Illinois to also gather data on how children are doing as they begin their school careers,” said Robin Steans of Advance Illinois, another of the committee’s key participants. “We look forward to working with the State Board on adopting meaningful kindergarten readiness measures.”